UK Intercity Bimodal Train is Powered by Diesel or Electric
Just as Electric Trains are transforming the Rail transportation business, Digital Transformation was become an imperative for businesses to survive in a rapidly changing world. This in turn is transforming the business of information technology. In my last blog I noted how disruptive this is to traditional IT infrastructure, traditional development paradigms, IT skill sets, and traditional architectures. New startups have a competitive advantage in that they have no IT legacy and have a greenfield opportunity to leverage all the new technologies and paradigms that the third platform (Social, mobile, analytics, DevOps, cloud) have to offer. So how do enterprises with huge investments in legacy IT transform to meet the challenges of Digital transformation? The UK Intercity Train system is solving their transition from legacy Diesel rails to electric with a bimodal train than can run on either power source.
This is the same approach that Gartner is recommending for transforming IT. The bimodal approach for transforming IT is one where mode one represents the more traditional IT applications which are core to the business and require consistency, availability and the highest security. Mode two represents new, more exploratory applications, disposable applications or new scale-out analytics environments where many IT teams are still searching for the exact combination of analysis that will generate new business value. These systems are sometimes called “systems of innovation” and will prioritize agility, flexibility and scalability over the consistent performance and recovery of “Mode 1”. Gartner believes both types of environments are important to today’s business and both must be managed in the most effective and efficient manner.
In the past few weeks I have met with several customers who have committed to the bimodal approach and have begun to build their mode two IT on cloud services, while maintaining their core business on their enterprise systems. One customer was a bank who is maintaining their enterprise systems for their core banking applications, while developing their initiatives for digital banking in an open stack cloud.
While mode one and mode two may involve two different architectures this bimodal approach should not create a divide between the data and information. An advantage that the established enterprises have over new startups is a wealth of legacy data and information that can give them a competitive advantage if they can integrate it with new sources of data. They need to choose the right platforms that connect the data and information and bridge the gap between mode one and mode two.
Hitachi products have been designed to work in both modes. Data Storage systems like the VSP and HCP (Hitachi content platform) can connect mode one block and file data to object data in the mode two cloud. In my last post I described how our VSP storage systems are software defined through the Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS), and can provide a secure
Data Migration to Cloud (DMT2C). HCP can operate as a content cloud and provide an on-ramp to public cloud. Our converged solution UCP can provide a private cloud with VMware or Hyper-V or SAP HANA. All our infrastructure products have open APIs and we support the Cinder (block), Swift (object), and Manila (file) interfaces to open stack.
Information sharing and data integration between the modes is also important to the business for Digital transformation. Pentaho with its’ long list of structured and unstructured data interfaces can provide information sharing and analytics between mode one and mode two information stores. Gartner has recognized the impact of bimodal IT on Business intelligence and has published a new Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms (04 February 2016ID:G00275847) stating that: “During the past several years, the balance of power for business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform buying decisions has gradually shifted from IT to the business as the long-standing BI requirement for centrally provisioned, highly governed and scalable system-of-record reporting has been counterbalanced by the need for analytical agility and business user autonomy”. Gartner places Pentaho in the visionary quadrant due to its “Mature data access and deep data transformation capabilities (provided by Pentaho Data Integration [PDI]) and advanced analytic capabilities (through the Data Science Pack) …….” Pentaho can integrate structured data from enterprise data warehouses with unstructured data from social media or IoT sources.
SAP also appears in the visionary quadrant. While SAP delivers a broad range of BI and analytics capability in the mode one enterprise space, SAP earned its spot in this new Magic quadrant based on SAP Lumira in combination with the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform. Hitachi is an OEM partner of SAP and supports SAP HANA with our UCP converged infrastructure solution. In February at the 2016 Mobile World Conference Hitachi announced the Hitachi UCP 6000 for Predictive Analytics, built upon SAP HANA and SAP Predictive Analytics. This fully integrated solution delivers simplified deployment of SAP solution environments, speeds time to value, removes IT infrastructure disruption and ensures the highest levels of application performance. This enables users to run predictive models on massive amounts of data from external data points and provide forward-looking actionable insights in seconds. It can Help Forecast Customer Behavior, Minimize Churn and Increase Customer Satisfaction which is so critical to mode two operations.
Bimodal IT enables IT to satisfy the increasing demands of the digital business while preserving and incrementally renovating the core infrastructure and workflow. However, bimodal IT will fail if we create a gap between the two modes. From a technology stand point we can provide the infrastructure and information tools to bridge the gap. However, bimodal IT requires an open, collaborative and transparent relationship between the modes, across all of IT and the business units. Mode one is just as important to the business as mode two, but if mode one is viewed as second class citizens to Mode two, bimodal IT will fail and the business will suffer. This is more of a cultural gap and it will take strong leadership and a unified buy-in from all of IT to bridge the cultural gap. Read how one CIO, Scott Scott Crowder, the CIO of BMC Software, went about transforming his IT organization to close the gap as an integrated team of IT professionals.